By The Star Staff
Ramón González Cordero, founder and owner of the conglomerate EMPIRE Gas, a firm that since 1967 has been uninterruptedly serving the industry, hospitals, commerce and homes of Puerto Rico, has passed away, the company announced earlier this week.
“Accompanied by his family during his stay in the hospital, today with much pain we announce that our father Ramón González Cordero has departed, a ‘Puerto Rican jibaro’ who, with the help of his family and in the space provided by the breezeway of his home, he managed to start a small liquefied gas distribution company, which today is the industry leader in providing energy and liquefied gas to all of Puerto Rico,” said González Cordero’s son, Ramón González Simounet, vice president of the EMPIRE Group.
Under the motto, “Service, Service, Service,” González Cordero molded an entire marketing strategy that has allowed his company 55 years later to be the provider of more than 500 jobs, where hundreds of families depend on the job support generated in “La Compañía Jibara,” a motto used for the business that provides nearly 80 percent of the propane gas supply in Puerto Rico with income that exceeds $150 million a year.
Ramón Sr. graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and with his first job (1953) in Esso Gas visited customers door to door and promoted the use of propane gas.
After 13 years at Esso Gas, he decided to found his own business.
Gonzalez Cordero involved his entire family in his business, especially his wife Ketty Simounet de González (recently deceased), who was considered co-founder of the EMPIRE Gas Group. His children Ketty, Waleska, Ramón and Xavier have also been key in the strengthening and development of the EMPIRE Group, which has earned the admiration of connoisseurs of the liquefied gas industry, not only in Puerto Rico, but also in the United States.
“My father was born in San Juan, raised and formed in a life of difficulties; he always had the vision and goal that ‘tomorrow would be better than today,’” González Simounet said in a Monday press release. “Well known is his ability to analyze the opportunities that he offered the liquefied gas distribution business, understanding that in most food companies, homes and kitchens of hospitals or prisons in the country, he was able to make his closest collaborators understand that the fuel they work with is a permanent necessity. Thus, with the passing of the years, González Cordero witnessed the industrial changes of the country, always managing to place our business brand at the forefront of great initiatives.”
González Cordero was the first Latino-Puerto Rican inductee into the Puerto Rican Liquefied Gas Hall of Fame. This distinction is very important, since at a collective level the National Propane Gas Association listed Empire Gas among the top 30 propane gas companies in the United States, for which he was conferred for induction into the national Liquefied Gas Hall of Fame.
For those familiar with the liquefied gas industry, the vision, dedication and efforts of González Cordero paid off by the placing of his EMPIRE Gas, Puerto Rican company, among the top 10 companies with the largest distribution in the United States, which clearly marks its having crossed borders in corporate growth and success.
At 89 years old, the founder of the EMPIRE Gas Group was attentive to the development of the industry, allowing his children and grandchildren to become involved in the complex and specialized world of distribution and storage of liquefied gas.
The EMPIRE Group has been a leader and pioneer of energy generation initiatives with innovative projects of energy self-sufficiency such as those operating in Hospital La Concepción in San Germán and Mennonite Hospital in Caguas.